Renal insufficiency: common cat disease

Cats are particularly prone to renal failure in old age. From the age of ten, the risk of this serious, chronic illness doubles. But if the organ disorder is recognized early enough, there is a lot you can do to help your velvet paw live an uncomfortable life. If you are concerned that your cat may have kidney failure, go quickly to the vet - Shutterstock / VGstockstudio

As cats get older, the risk of developing chronic kidney failure increases. Improper nutrition with too much dry food and too little fluid and being overweight can further increase the risk. The sooner you realize that your cat has kidney problems, the better. Together with the veterinarian, you can do everything you can to improve the quality of life and life expectancy of your kidney cat.

What do the kidneys do in the cat's body?

Healthy kidneys filter the blood and separate toxins. These are then excreted together with the urine that is formed in the kidneys. In addition, the vital organs regulate the water balance and play a major role in the cat's metabolism and are jointly responsible for healthy blood pressure. Bones and blood formation also require hormones that are produced in the kidneys.

Renal function may deteriorate acutely, for example due to an injury, but this is rather rare in cats. Most of the time, the decline in kidney function is gradual. At the beginning of such chronic renal failure (often abbreviated to "CNI"), the healthy kidney cells can still serve as a reserve and perform the tasks satisfactorily. Only when this is no longer possible are there first signs that the kidneys are no longer functioning properly.

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Kidney failure in cats: symptoms show up late

The symptoms of kidney disease usually only appear in cats when more than 75 percent of the organ has already been severely damaged. It is therefore important to know what to look for. The first signs include:

● fever
● vomiting
● Frequent urge to urinate

In the further course the following symptoms may appear:
● Dull, shaggy fur
● Loss of appetite
● weight loss
● Increased thirst
● Dejection
● listlessness
● apathy
● nervousness and restlessness

Cats with severe renal insufficiency have a severe bad breath, some of the urine smell even penetrates the fur. Because kidney failure is associated with great pain for cats, they move less, hardly like to jump and, in the worst case, no longer go to their litter box.

Diagnosing Chronic Kidney Failure in Cats: What Does the Veterinarian Do?

Unfortunately, the symptoms of kidney failure in cats are not clear. They can also indicate other diseases, such as diabetes in cats. Therefore, do not be afraid to immediately arrange a veterinarian appointment in the event of suspicion. The veterinarian can quickly use a urine test and a blood test to determine whether the kidney problems are real. Under certain circumstances, he can supplement his diagnosis with a blood pressure measurement.

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Treating chronic renal failure in cats: what to do?

In order for a possible kidney failure in your cat to be recognized in good time, you should have your cat's blood examined annually from the age of seven. Destroyed kidney cells cannot be restored, but they can help maintain and support the healthy part of the kidneys.

Feed a special kidney diet that your veterinarian will prescribe. The feed should contain high-quality proteins and have a low salt content. There are also special medications and infusions that help balance the water balance. In any case, you should regularly introduce your cat to the veterinarian so that he can support you with the therapy.

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